There are 120 different tribes are residing in Tanzania speaking 125 different languages. Not only the languages are diversified but also these tribes of Tanzania follow various cultures and customs. However, Swahili and English are there official languages that are widely been spoken.
Previously Tanzania Safari used to mean exploring the wilderness of the national parks, game-drives, and camping. Visiting the tribes in Tanzania now is a primary part of Tanzania Safari. The cultural safaris in Tanzania allow discovering some years old traditions of tribal people, their lifestyle, and much fascinating information about them.
Here we present some of the well-known tribes of Tanzania that you must explore during your Tanzania safari holidays.
List Of Settled Tribes In Tanzania (Tanzania Tribes)
Hadza Tribe is one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in the world that are surviving. The Hadza people always look after one another so that no Hadza is left behind.
There are around 1,200 to 1,300 Hadza people are still leaving in the land of Tanzania. Mostly this indigenous ethnic group resides near the Lake Eyasi near to the Serengeti Plateau. However, there are only around 300 Hadza tribe people are still following the traditional lifestyle of constant moving in search of food.
There are 4 periods of history that Hadza people narrate. The first genre was hairy giants who didn’t know the use of tools or fire. They used to kill animals by staring at them and eat the meat raw. The first epoch was known as Akakaanebe or Gelanebe.
The second genre was similarly huge but without much hairy body. They used to be aware of creating fire and could cook the meat. They used to live in caves. It’s believed that they were capable of making medicines. They are known as Tlaatlanebe.
The third genre was known as Hamakwabe, they were smaller compared to their ancestors. They invented and used arrow, bow, and other tools to hunt and utensils to cook and eat. They used to build their house as well like today’s Hadza people.
The fourth genre Hadza people are the ones you can meet today in Tanzania. Known to be the Hamaishonebe they are well aware of hunting skills, making a home, and more.
The Hadza people are mostly dependent upon hunting only. They neither grow nor store their food. They still use arrows and bows to hunt. These tribes of Tanzania smartly combine their hunting precision with poison. The hunters coat their arrowheads in a deadly toxin made out of the desert rose plant to bring down big games.
The traditional weapons like bow and arrow are still made with a stick, animal’s bones, and ligaments. Their primary diet is plant-based plant based but they also consume meat, fat, and honey. They mostly build their houses out of dried grass, tree branches etc.
They speak Hadzane language which is completely different and unique having no resemblance with any other languages in the world. However, many Hadza people have learnt to speak Swahili now as it is the official language of their country.
Maasai Tribe is one of the prominently known tribes of Tanzania. These semi-nomadic warrior tribes of Tanzania lived off the lands of East-Africa but now live as pastoral herders.
There are 1 million Maasai people living in the central and southern part of Kenya and Tanzania. They still believe in their tradition and continuing with their old traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle.
According to the oral history of the Maasai tribe, they were originated from the north of Lake Turkana near the lower Nile Valley and came to Tanzania through Sudan. During the 15th century, they started migrating and reach central Tanzania and Northern Kenya around the 17th and 18th century.
During the 19th century, they covered almost all the regions of Great Rift Valley, lands near the Mount Marsabit, and Dodoma in the south. However, they were later evicted from the national parks area. In 1911, the British evicted Maasai people from 60% of their acquired land in Kenya. They have stood strictly against the slavery system and still love living their life in their traditional way.
Maasai people are monotheistic and they call their god as Engai or Enkai. They often solve major issues through the help of the elder people of the tribe. They have many surprising culture and customs they firmly believe and follow till date.
When someone dies in the tribal society they don’t bury the body or follow any formal funeral ceremony. They left it in the bushes covered in oxblood to be eaten by the wild animals. There is a belief that if in 3 days no one eats the body then it brings bad luck to the family.
Cattle play a huge role in their life. They are dependent on their cows for their living and they are the primary source of their food. They also drink raw blood of the cattle as they believe it brings them good luck and their body gets recovered from physical issues. This is done when someone meets some accident or during some special customs.
Music and dance is an inseparable part of their culture. Adumu or well known as Maasai jumping dance is quite famous. It symbolizes the young male warriors climbing the ranks of masculinity in the tribe. The higher they jump the stronger they are considered.
Maasai tribe is one of the iconic tribes of Tanzania by every mean. As their culture, their cloth is equally colourful. Mostly Maasai men wore a red robe, they believe the lions and other predators get afraid of the colour and they don’t attack. Maasai women and men both wear beaded jewellery. This jewellery is usually handmade and multi-coloured. The colours they use to wear each have their meaning.
A proud tribe in Tanzania full of fierce warriors. Mostly Datoga tribes are living as farmers and skilled craftsman. The datoga tribe is also known as Mang’ati in Swahili.
The datoga tribes living in Tanzania belongs to the pastoralist Nilotic group. This tribe inhabits in the Mara region, Arusha region, Manyara region, and Singida region of Tanzania. There are around 87,978 datoga people were estimated in 2000.
The history of datoga people is oral that has been passed from generation to generation. From their culture and language, it’s been derived that they are highland southern Nilotes. Back before around 3,000 years, they were originated at Ethiopia and south Sudan highlands.
Their ancestors gradually migrated towards highlands of Tanzania and Kenya. They finally get settled over Tanzania and Kenya. During the migration, they got split into 2 groups. The group settled in Kenya is known as Kalenjin and the group of tribes lived in Tanzania is known as the ancestors of Datoga. They are now even speaking different languages however; many cultural aspects are still similar.
During the 18th century, the datoga tribes were widespread across Northern Tanzania. But eventually, they lost their land and shifted close to Lake Manyara and Lake Eyasi. In 1961 after Tanzania got its freedom they got settled near the foot of Mount Oldeani due to fertile land, grazing fields, and water source.
The area was then declared as Ujamaa and in 1966 many other tribes flocked there. The Ujamaa meant Unity or Fertility in Swahili. To ensure the socialistic policy by Julius Nayerere, such villages were created. Since then the datoga people lost their lands and finally settled at the shores of Lake Eyasi which is their current location.
The datoga tribes are one of the proud tribal groups in Tanzania of being fierce warriors. Young datoga men used to kill other humans who were not datoga, as well they are known to kill various deadly predators.
They usually dress in the reddish-brown colour of soil and wore beaded jewellery such as braces, bracelets etc. They can be easily identified by the decorative tattoos around their eyes. This tribe group of Tanzania also depends a lot upon cattle. They mostly have herds of goats, donkey, sheep, and chickens apart from cattle.
They do intake meat, cow dung, milk, horns, and tendons as food during some special occasions or rituals. Their funeral ceremonies and mourning usually last up to almost a year.
The men consume a special honey beer during some of their rituals.
Chhaga is the 3rd largest ethnic group living in Tanzania. Chaga tribe is also called in various names like; Wahhaga, Chhaga, Jagga, Dschhaga, Waschhaga, and Wachagga.
These Bantu speaking indigenous tribe of Tanzania are living on the foothill of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, and some places in Moshi. They are the 1st tribes living in Tanzania who were converted to Christianity as it allowed them to explore better education and health care. The total population of Chaga people is estimated at 2,000,000. Due to overpopulation, few families moved to lowland areas.
During the 19th century, the kchhaga speaking people got divided into various small groups. They got recognized as separate tribe though they all were following the same culture and used to live near Kilimanjaro slopes.
Eventually, after the population growth, they shifted to other places. The Bantu speaking people came to live in the foothill of Kilimanjaro around 500 to 600 years ago. During the 20th century the German colonial govt. counted 28,000 people that were living in Kilimanjaro and increased to 744,271 in 1988 population counting.
Chagga people have a rich cultural heritage. Dancing and music is their primary part of the celebration. They mostly use traditional Chaga musical instruments like; wooden flutes, drums, and bells. As a result of exposure to various other ethnic group and western music Chaga people also prefer Swahili songs, Central and West African music like pop and rap.
They also prefer to use their handmade utensils that are made out of wood. Mostly they make huge beer tubs, small bowls, and spoons from wood. Apart from utensils and musical instruments they also use the hand-made weapon and trap to capture animals.
The Sonjo Tribe:-
The sanjo people belong to the Bantu family. Their living is mainly dependent upon domestic animals and agriculture.
Sanjo people inhabit in Northern Tanzania since centuries. Mostly they live near the Ngorongoro district within the Maasai territory in about 30-40 miles west to Lake Natron. There are around 30,000 sanjo people are living in the northern part of Tanzania.
Sanjo tribe’s origin is believed to be in Central Africa. Gradually they have moved to East Africa since 4,000 years before. The reason for their migration is believed to be the search for fertile agricultural land. To expand their agricultures and grow more crops they needed well fertile land with a good water source.
Music plays a vital role in Sanjo people’s life. It is widely adopted and practice within the entire sanjo tribal community. Music is used for various rituals like; getting rid of evil spirits, rainmaking ceremony, and healing process.
During funerals to console the mourners and to praise the dead music is also get played. Not only for death ceremonies but also it is vital during other joyful ceremonies like in wedding, building a new house, to welcome back the warriors from battle, beer parties, and sports.
Sukuma tribe in Tanzania is the largest ethnic group living in Tanzania. Sukuma means north and the Sukuma tribe indicates “the northern people” or “the people of the north”. They also call themselves as Basukuma and Nsukuma. Bsukuma is the plural form and Nsukuma is the singular.
They live in North-western Tanzania near Lake Victoria’s southern shores. Also, you can meet them in Mwanza, south-west of Mara region, Simiyu Region, as well at Shinyanga region. There are around 8.9 million Sukuma people are living in Tanzania. It is 16% of the total population of the country.
Sukuma ancestors belong to a large group of early Bantu speaking people living during the first millennium AD. They seem to be the part of the same group as Western Uganda’s Bantu speaking group. They steadily migrated in the search of water and fertile lands to the various regional and now settled in various parts of Tanzania.
They deeply believe in spirit possession. They make medicines using animals and believe the medicines made from animals are more effective than modern medicines. There are healers in the community and they usually instruct what and how each animal will be used.
Visiting Tanzania Tribes during your Tanzania Safari can be adventurous and exciting for every traveller. Make your journey memorable forever, learn some oldest tricks of living life, witness few unbelievable cultures, and more importantly explore how the wildlife and human stay together not harming each other. Explore your cultural trips with https://carnivoressafaris.co.tz/ and enjoy your time-travel journey.
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